Lounging on his balcony on Disney Wonder last night, presumably enjoying the peace and quiet of being at sea (though with Smartphone in hand), a passenger witnessed a startling event. And the world -- or at least anyone who was on Twitter, heard about it first-hand.
"...I'm on a Disney Caribbean cruise, and just now, we RESCUED A MAN FROM THE OCEAN," tweeted BigHeadDennis, a traveler who describes himself in his Twitter bio as "Mostly just another boring suburban dad, with two gorgeous young daughters and a surprisingly supportive wife."
Indeed, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, officers aboard Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Sensation notified them that a man had gone overboard while the ship was sailing off of Port St. Lucie, in Central Florida. The Coast Guard asked if ships nearby could join the search and Disney Wonder, on its way back to Port Canaveral, was clearly in the right place.
And BigHeadTed provided the kind of scintillating details -- via tweets -- you'd never get from a cruise line:
"A (drunk?) guy fell off a nearby Carnival ship. We could hear his screaming from the water. We stopped and dropped a lifeboat overboard."
"The Captain got onto the PA system and asked everyone to keep quiet, so the lifeboat crew could pinpoint the guy from his yelling.
"The lifeboat crew scooped him up from the water before the Coast Guard helicopter over flight even reached us."
"Safe and sound. I witnessed all of this while sitting on my balcony (girls asleep in the stateroom). WOW."
"Guess that Disney Magic is REAL."
In the end, the passenger, who treaded water for an hour and a half according to the Associated Press, was indeed rescued by Disney Wonder crew and was treated for exhaustion. He stayed onboard and was transported to Port Canaveral, where Disney Wonder was scheduled to end its cruise. Carnival Sensation was also returning to Port Canaveral.
In a statement, Carnival noted that it "wishes to extend its thanks and appreciation to the officers and crew of the Disney Wonder, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, for their assistance."
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
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Disney Wonder, Twitter, Involved in Man Overboard Rescue
September 3, 2009